The Blue Ink Reviews Mega Man #48 – Yes, Virginia, There is a Mr. X...

"The ocean was impartial, sparing or destroying without thought to nation, social standing, or lot in life. He was merely emulating that which he best loved, and there was great pride to be taken in that. The third aspect of the sea began to coil around his heart. Bounty and mystery he held in full measure. Power, Mr. X now gained." -Eric "Erico" Lawson, "Mega Man: Guiding Rainbow's Light"

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For those of us who were looking for an epic fight against Gamma, this issue definitely delivered. I was tempted to use everyone's favorite anti-Death Star quote ("What good are snub fighters...") But that would have been too obvious. Still, there's a reason I hold to the opinion that Mega Man could destroy Unicron. Never underestimate the little guy.

"Both of us"? Wait, is he counting Rush?

In a true test of David versus Goliath (and side note from Gargoyles... Goliath and David Xanatos? Coincidence? NOT!), Wily has a machine that can level cities and annihilate mechanized armies. The only problem? It doesn't have any weapons on it, which leaves him with the brute force method of Hulk Smashing to take down his nemesis.

But Mega Man's just too quick for him... and resourceful, really. When things get tight, he uses Metal Blades as climbing hooks. When Rush gets threatened, a chest full of Crash Bombs ends the threat. And when Rush Jet becomes too predictable, he changes it up to the Rush Coil. Mega Man, formerly a tool-using robot, whomps Wily with versatility and inventive combat tactics.

Still, he's fighting a thing that was built to have no real weaknesses. As any good student of video game combat tactics can tell you, though, the thicker the armor, the weaker the Achilles heel... or glass jaw.

And now you know why Gamma was weak to Search Snakes.

Freeing himself from Gamma's crushing grip by using his Hard Knuckle as a means of propelling himself, Mega Man launches himself up next to Gamma's lantern jaw and unleashes a salvo of Search Snakes. Poor design choice on Wily's part, really... never leave your power source exposed, no matter how narrow the opening. The Search Snakes make quick work of taking out the eight energy crystals that power Gamma, and with no power, the behemoth is left to crumble.

Wily just got rocked... in more ways than one. And Rock? Uh... him, too.

And here's the familiar story. With Gamma defeated, the damage caused by their epic battle causes rubble to come down and crush Mega Man and Dr. Wily. Blues shows up too late to be of any help to either, and so we're left thinking (unless we know better) that Wily's final words to Mega Man are simply, "I hate you..." And he does hate him. That hatred defines Wily... and it will continue to define him.

Talk about an "Auto" repair system, eh?

Doing the right thing for a change, Break Man drags Mega Man out of the rubble and drops him off at Dr. Light's front doorstep. He doesn't bother to make an appearance himself, but he lingers around long enough (finally!) to witness the tearful reunion and to hear Dr. Light say something smart for a change. Blues didn't lose his father, he gained a family. And when he's ready to come home... they'll leave the light on for him.

But enough about Blues.

Anyone else getting a total "X-Men" vibe from these guys?

In the words of Sherlock Holmes: "Short version: Not dead."

And what's worse, we have the introduction of one Mr. X... and Miss/Mrs. Y. And they come complete with their own campy 1960's supervillain goomba squad in matching uniforms even. The Third Robot Rebellion is finished, Dr. Wily's been pulled from the grave, and we have the enigmatic Mr. X to thank for it.

And that brings us to today's editorial.

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I do love being pleasantly surprised. While I may be laughing my ass off at the costume choices taken by the "X Squad", I tamp it down with the acknowledgement that this is a children's comic, and hey, sometimes campy works. Still, the Emerald Spears seemed more dangerous than these goons. At first glance, anyhow.

Mr. X is perhaps the most underdeveloped character in the "fanon" of Mega Man mythology. Of course, there's a reason for that: Mr. X only showed up in one game as a sponsor of a Robot Master fighting competition, and after the usual rigamarole, we find out that Mr. X was Wily the whole time. Of course, that's just sloppy writing right there, and it's why when I do Mega Man replays for the heck of it, I rarely pick up Mega Man 6. It was just... meh.

But I did feel that somehow, Mr. X needed a better, more complete explanation many years ago. It was actually one of the "Legacy of Metal" co-authors, Magus, who took probably the first real, serious stab at trying to expand this flat and poorly written and utilized "character" into something more, as a multi-billionaire philanthropist trying to make good with the world after years of being a merchant of death. Like Tony Stark, but without the fast cars, the alcohol abuse, and the suits.

When I sat down to write "Guiding Rainbow's Light", I took it a step further. Mr. X became "Oliver Xanthos", the youngest son of a Grecian wine family and conglomerate who took his minor inheritance and financed himself into a world-class weapons merchant who was so good at staying hidden, he stymied every national intelligence agency as to his real identity. Oh, and then after he supplied the radioactive material responsible for nuking Jerusalem, he turned over a new leaf and helped to create, fund, and finance the Second Rainbow and other major institutions after World War III. Bonus points: His bodyguard/mistress/eventual wife was one dark-haired Jessica Bravewind, former CIA operative. (And at some point, I do need to actually pound out the short story I have planned for how those two first met...) Having Oliver around when I was doing my last real magnum opus for the "Legacy of Metal" was a breath of fresh air. He solidified for me a concept that I still use in what I work on now, my Star Fox 'fic: "Sometimes it's better to start fresh."

Similarly, I have to say I'm really looking forward to seeing how Ian Flynn has this scripted out. Who is Mr. X, to him? To the team at Archie? Is he a swarthy Grecian weapons merchant as I portrayed him, or are we going the full-out Dr. Claw supervillain route here? Considering that the movie Minions comes out this summer, the timing does lend itself towards a more campy supervillain persona... well, that and the grunt costumes... and his subordinate, Miss Y...

One thing does make me blink and raise my hand as I say "Waiiit a minute..."

How, exactly, did Mr. X get a retrieval team to Wily's Skull Fortress so quickly? I mean, even before any government agents or other military forces did? This is a question that will be answered, of this I have no doubt. Flynn's proven, after 40 issues, that he's not one to leave wrinkles in his tapestry.

So here's to Mr. X, finally getting some actual love from someone who isn't just a fan who likes to spend years writing stories for the heck of it, and gets paid to do so. Good luck, Team Flynn.

We will be watching Mr. X's career with great interest.

For the Blue Ink.

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When he isn’t writing “The Blue Ink” reviews for The Mega Man Network, Erico (The Super Bard) spends his days keeping track of the “Legacy of Metal” fanon, dabbling in cooking and tea-brewing, and exploring the human condition from his Iowa stomping grounds.

The views expressed here reflect the views of the authors alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Mega Man Network.